© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: In this study, the authors examine how a retail bank's positive, neutral, and negative prior ethical reputations influence customers' perceptions and attitudes, leading to their bank selection decisions and also analyze whether there is a trade-off between a bank's negative prior ethical reputation and its functional benefits to customers. Design/methodology/approach: The authors followed a sequential exploratory mixed-methods research design with two studies. The authors’ first study was qualitative, in which the authors conducted interviews and focus groups with banking customers in Pakistan. The results of this study were used to generate hypotheses that were tested in the second study using random choice experiments. Findings: The results indicate that positive and neutral prior ethical reputations do not significantly impact customers' choices; however, a negative reputation does affect selection. The results also show that customers punished negative reputations, even when the associated functional benefits were higher than the alternatives. Originality/value: This is one of the first mixed-methods studies in an emerging economy context to consider the impact of ethical reputation on consumer orientation and bank selection decisions.